Sunday, February 26, 2012
Interview with Lyn LeJeune, author of The Beatitudes
Social workers Hannah Dubois (white and nicknamed "Scrimp") and Earlene Washington (African-American and nicknamed Pinch), start their own business, Social Investigations, in order to solve the murders of ten foster children in New Orleans, Louisiana. Why have the NOPD, the Catholic Church, and politicians sidestepped clues that point to a force that holds great power both in New Orleans and the world. As Hannah and Earlene find more and more evidence, they also know that they are dealing with a force that crosses into the realm of the paranormal. Earlene is murdered with a sword from the famous Cabildo and returns to join her ghostly friends in the Heavenly City. A ghost can certainly help investigations. The Beatitudes gives us the first private ghost detective. Added to that Scrimp uncovers secrets about her family past, revealed by the underground hero, a four foot black man named n'est pas juste whose job is to help save New Orleans n'est pas juste. Scrimp is a voodoo princess (Gran Met).
Pinch and Scrimp are transported to an underworld much like Dante's Purgatoria in order to learn that the murderers are part of a secret organization called The White Army (le Armee Blanc), centered in New Orleans, but rooted in Medieval Europe and the Children's Crusade Each clue leads to a beatitude and each chapter defines the novel: The Pure of Heart, The Persecuted, The Merciful, The Sorrowful, The Peacemakers, The Meek, The Poor in Spirit, and Those Who Hunger and Thirst for Justice. The White Army is thus a study of good and evil and that act, the murder of innocent children, which encompasses all of the seven deadly sins. Who then can better perform acts of goodness and compassion than those who have suffered but are without sin? Pinch and Scrimp- a ghost and a voodoo princess, our new heroes.
Find out how to purchase the book after the interview!
Welcome! To start with, tell us a bit about the inspiration for The Beatitudes.
I grew up in New Orleans in the days when I could ride the city bus all over. I always ended up at the downtown public library, where my own little world of books came to life. I was haunted, raised Catholic, and loved the works of Dante. So I based my work on all those factors and my love for New Orleans. All the money from the hardcover book goes directly to the New Orleans Public Library Foundation.
Would you be friends/associate with the characters in your book? Why or why not?
Oh, I would be friends with Pinch and Scrimp, the heroes of The Beatitudes. They are social workers; Pinch is a ghost and Scrimp is a voodoo princess. They try to stop the corruption of worldly and other-worldly forces in New Orleans. And yes, they are trying to solve murders in the Heavenly City!
Do you read the same kinds of books you write? If there are any differences between the two, what are they?
I am an eclectic reader, but I love the works of James Lee Burke, another Louisiana author.
I also love biographies of strong historical figures like Catherine the Great.
What do you think is alluring about The Beatitudes? Why should someone pick it up?
The Beatitudes is what I call “A Pinch and Scrimp Adventure.” Pinch and Scrimp are new kinds of heroes who carry with them all that holds off evil in the world. One reviewer wrote that in The Beatitudes “the reader will BE IN New Orleans …tasting the food, hearing jazz and blues, the smell of the great Mississippi.”
If you can tell us, what is it you're working on now?
InGroup Press recently published my historical novel, Elijah Rising, about two young men traveling across America in the 1920’s … shades of The Great Gatsby. Presently, I’m working on the continuing story of Pinch and Scrimp in New Orleans.
And finally, everyone is so gaga over the idea of vampires vs werewolves. What two supernatural beings do you want to see do battle?
Well, The Beatitudes is about one good ghost and one good voodoo princess, both battle bad ones … as well as corrupt humans. I like the battle between good and evil. EVIL RIDES THE ST. CHARLES STREETCAR LINE!
Thank you so much for stopping by, Lyn, and I wish you all the best! And if you, gentle reader, are interested in buying The Beatitudes, here is where you can: